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IFA 2018 | Hands-on with the HTC U12 Life

The HTC U12 Life features the same display as the flagship U12+.
The HTC U12 Life features the same display as the flagship U12+.
At IFA 2018, we managed to have a brief hands-on with the HTC U12 Life. The U12 Life is a mid-range smartphone sporting the same 6-inch display as the flagship U12+. The U12 Life offers 16 MP + 5 MP dual rear cameras and a 13 MP front camera with LED flash.

HTC unveiled the mid-range U12 Life during a press briefing at IFA 2018. We had a chance to try out the device and realized that the U12 Life bears a few resemblances to the flagship U12+. The device features mid-range specs and comes with the HTC Sense UI layered over Android 8.1 Oreo.

HTC still hasn't embraced the notched display trend so it appeals instantly to those who prefer the traditional display format. Although the size bezels are thin, the top bezel and the bottom chin are fairly prominent. The 6-inch size is comfortable to hold in one hand but does require a two-handed operation. HTC has given a two-tone finish to the back, with the bottom half having a textured glass feel. We see a 16 MP + 5 MP f/2.0 vertical camera arrangement here compared to the U12+'s 12 MP + 16 MP horizontal cameras. The selfie camera is a 13 MP f/2.0 shooter with LED flash. We got to play with the Moonlight Blue variant but there is a Twilight Purple shade on offer as well. 

The innards are powered by the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, which should offer consistent performance for most mainstream tasks while being easy on the battery. There is 4 GB RAM of 64 GB of UFS 2.1 storage onboard, which is expandable via a microSD card. Dual SIM dual LTE support is available and thankfully, unlike the U12+, HTC has not sacrificed the headphone jack. A USB Type-C port and the standard suite of wireless technologies including 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 round off the connectivity options. Given the high power-efficiency of the Snapdragon 636, the 3,600 mAh battery should be able to easily last a typical workday with some juice left over and the bundled 10W adapter can top up things quickly if needed.

HTC told us the U12 Life will be available in Europe starting next month for €350 (US$408). We'll have to see how the device will be received in the market given that flagship SoCs are now being featured in phones at near-mid-range price points.


HTC Press Meet at IFA 2018

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-08-30 (Update: 2018-08-30)